27 answers

Getting Rid of the Pacifier - Lenexa, KS

Hi! My 10 month-old has been using a pacifier since he was 3 months old. We used to give it to him fairly often but now have gotten it down to only naps and bedtime. He has been teething for what seems like forever (he already has 8 teeth) and the pacifier really helps when he's cutting a tooth. When this happens, I will give him the pacifier more often. My concern is that he will be too dependent on it. I really don't want him to use it past his first birthday, but I don't know if it is a battle that is worth fighting. I have 2 questions about this:
1. What are some ways we can encourage him to stop using the pacifier, especially at sleep times? (He has a little animal he sleeps with and he is not nursing).
2. Should I be concerned about getting rid of the pacifier at nap times and sleep times by or around his first birthday? Am I being too rigid?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for the great advice! After reading all the responses I realize that I do need to relax a bit about the whole pacifier thing. It is helpful to hear from experienced moms that it will work itself out as he gets older. That perspective is not always easy for me to come by. For now we will keep having him use it for sleeping times and if he needs it when he's teething. I need to chill out I guess! :) It's funny that as a mom (so far) I think I have all these grand plans for how things should go. I should know better that babies don't go by the book and that is humbling to me. When the time is right for CJ, we will use some of the great tips you all gave. Thank you again for your advice and helpful hints.

Featured Answers

Hi K.,

I agree with the other women in that this is a personal decision - there's no "right" time or exact time to get rid of it. I just wanted to share what we did - which was an idea I got from posting the question on here a couple of years ago! When my daughter was understanding how to throw things away and that some things break (a little after 1, I think or around that time) we cut a slit into her binkie. She sucked on it and found that it wasn't working anymore. We said, "Oh, it must be broken - Oh well!" nice and cheery... She threw it away herself. It worked for us. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I had a friend of mine gather up ALL of the pacifiers, tie them to helium balloons and take them out into a field and let them go with ther son. She had told him the pacifier fairy needed them back for other little boys and girls, and he never fussed again.
Odd but true!

the more attached to the binky they are the harder it is to get them off of it! I had it down to sleep times too at 10 months then I got it just down to bed time. now she is 15 months and is fine without it. I recomend giving him a teething ring in place of a binky. or any type of teething toy. this worked great with my daughter. I wanted her off the binky cause her cousin who is now three still uses them at times and chews off the nipples. plus it is easier to break them of a habit when they are younger cause their attention spans are shorter. Eventually they will forget about it and fixate on something else.(glowworm for instance)

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Hi K.,

Honestly, if he is using already the pacifier, and he feels comfortable with it, and he needs it, I don't see the reason to get rid of it so soon. It is a very personal point of view, and depends on how your baby reacts and what you want. My older kid stopped using the pacifier at three, and I did it "cold turkey", he almost did not realize about the paci missing, but with the little one is taking a little bit longer; he is now three and he still use it for naps and bedtime. However, soon the pacifier is going to be lost......I have been telling him that he is already a big boy, and he can have his blanket and his teddy bear to help him fall asleep.
Your little one is just too little I think. When kids are older, yes, it might take time to get rid of this binky, but it works, but when they are babies or younger, it just going to make them cry more, and you will have less rest. There is time for everything. You will have good suggestions here.
A.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi there!
Well, there are no real "right" answers on this one...I think it's a personal decision and I'm just going with what feels right to me right now. I don't have any advice, but this is what we're doing.
My daughter is almost 2 and I SWORE she'd be off her bottles and pacifier by 1...well, 1 came and went...her bottles ended at about 15 months, but she loves her "bink" and uses it only at naps and bedtime (we have her throw her binks in her bed before she leaves her room). I've come to the conclusion that I'm in no rush to get rid of them. She doesn't use them during the day...so no issues with speech...she's a chatterbox...she only uses it to fall alseep and plays with the "extras" in the early morning hours. She's such a good sleeper now! I'm currently preggers with #2 and the first trimester exhaustion is wearing me down...so if it takes a bink in the crib to help her sleep an extra hour here or there...therefore letting me sleep an extra hour here or there...then it's worth it.
Haven't quite decided when we'll actually get rid of them completely...for now, a peaceful night is priceless...
and my old pediatrician was of the thought that no-one takes a pacifier to college...so...that eased my mind.
P.S. I still sleep with my "baby pillow" from childhood...just in a travel pillow case...hey...whatever works!

2 moms found this helpful

I may be different than everyone else, but I think it's called a pacifier for a reason. I tried to wean my oldest off the pacifier too soon b/c she went right for the thumb, which is REALLLLy a difficult habit to break. With my youngest 2, (they are 2) we slowly weaned them off and they don't use them at all during the day. Every so often they will ask for one at bedtime, but we don't have them anymore so the thought of using them passess. I say let your child use it as you try to figure out what else can be of comfort to him.

2 moms found this helpful

relax...when your child starts throwing the pacifier rather than sucking on it...you'll know it's time! For some children, this comes early....for others, it can take years.
We chose to eliminate the pacifier between the 1st & 2nd years. Once they're up & walking, we just felt that the boys were capable of self-soothing without the binky.

That said, for my daycare kids, the story has been pretty much the same. Consistently, what I'm seeing is that if the pacifier is used regularly in the 1st few months, then elimination does not come until well after 1 1/2 years. I can only think of one child who gave it up before 1 year.....& only 1 other child who went without from day one. & that's in 22 years of working with children!

My only concern stems from children using the pacifier beyond the 1st year or two. I have seen several children allowed to use the bink thru preschool years....age 3-4! In most of the cases, there are distinct developmental differences in the positioning of their front teeth. When these older children are allowed to use the pacifier, their front teeth actually begin to cant out....seriously, you can see it at a glance! It's like a picket fence leaning over....not a good thing.

So, relax for these first years....& save the battle for when your child has developed better self-soothing skills.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi K.,

I agree with the other women in that this is a personal decision - there's no "right" time or exact time to get rid of it. I just wanted to share what we did - which was an idea I got from posting the question on here a couple of years ago! When my daughter was understanding how to throw things away and that some things break (a little after 1, I think or around that time) we cut a slit into her binkie. She sucked on it and found that it wasn't working anymore. We said, "Oh, it must be broken - Oh well!" nice and cheery... She threw it away herself. It worked for us. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

i dont know about any one else, but my son had acid reflux when he was a baby and when he was hurting, the binky helped to soothe him. We let him have it until he was 2 and then when i was about ready to have him give it up, his dad left us and that was pretty tramatic for him and hw clung to it even harder. so long story short, when he was three, i gathered all of the binkies in the house and we had a bye bye binky party (similar to birthday party with out the presents for him)and wrapped up all of these used and chewed on binkies in a nice box with pretty wrapping that he helped to wrap up and gave them to a friend of mine who was pregnant "for her baby, becasue he was not a baby any more and her baby needed it them." he got really excited abotu that. It took about a week for him to not ask for the binky any more (instead of sucking on the binky at night he started to talk alot lol)anyhow, i think that if u want to wait until ur child is a little older to have them give up teh binky, it would be just fine.

1 mom found this helpful

my boys pretty much weaned themselves from it. The oldest was 3 months but his was a one of a kind and wasn't safe to use anymore so we couldn't find another one and he didn't like any other type so he fussed a few nights but was done with it but was nothing we could do about that one. No stores had the one he was using anymore and haven't seen one like it since. Think it was one of the recalled ones and can see why.
middle child had colic for 5 1/2 months so she had hers for 9 months but wanted her weaned from it before a year and she only fussed 1 night and was over it.

youngest son weaned himself from it at around 4 months. He wasn't using it much anymore and would find it on the floor or in his crib so we just took it one night and he didn't care at all. He also weaned himself from the bottle before he was a year old. He kept throwing it out of his crib and they kept cracking/yes even the plastic ones would crack so told him if he throws another one out of his crib then that was the last one and he threw it and didn't fuss for it at all so that was the end of the bottle.
I started all my kids using sippy cups at 4 months old to get them used to using one. We started with the type that leaked so they could get the swallowing thing down and they got about an ounce in their cup during feeding times in the high chair, then when they started eating food they knew how to use the cup on their own. You can put their breastmilk/formula in it to begin with. After a few weeks they learned to suck on it and could use the dripless kind so by the time it was time to take their bottle away they were just as content to have the sippy cup because it wasn't something new to replace their bottle, they were used to using it already.

1 mom found this helpful

I'll be honest, I felt the same way at first, but realized it was her source of comfort so I let her have it when she wanted it - primarily when upset, napping or in the car. She just turned two and that's when I took it. I think since we didn't make it a major issue, she didn't either. I simply cut off of the tip and she noticed and said, "it's broken mommy." I just said that's a bummer. When she asked me to fix it, I "tried", but then explained how mommy would always do her best to fix things for her, but there would be times in life mommy wouldn't be able to. But I love her the same and can offer lots of hugs and kisses. To may amazement and to those around me, it has NOT BEEN AN ISSUE AT ALL!!! It's been so awesome and I'm very glad I let her have it as long as she needed it. I think you have to decide what you're comfortable with, but there is not rule that says you have to get rid of it at 1. He finds comfort in it, let him have that comfort.

1 mom found this helpful

I wouldn't worry too much about it. Our older son gave his up at 9 months so we were surprised when our younger son didn't give his up! We tried to take the pacifier at a year and he started sucking his thumb to the point of a blister. We decided to give him the pacifier back while nap and bedtime and he hasn't sucked his thumb again. So we decided that he would wait for his cues!

1 mom found this helpful

Half of my kids used a pacifier and half sucked their thumb but I will say the ones I took the pacifier from earlier went to the thumb anyhow. That is almost harder to break and seems it may do more damage to the teeth, but not sure of that. Anyhow, each person and child is different so you will know the 'right' time to take it and if it causes too much distress I would wait. Some children are more mature at certain ages and stages and can understand and others are still babies and not ready so I would say you would know that better than anyone else. It's not the end of the world to have a pacifier at age one. Don't go by ages but by when the child is ready.
I know I hated the pacifier because of germs, dropping them, etc. But thumbs can be the same issue really.
I just hope you stick to what ever decision you make as it will not be one without complaint if you take it this young. Or at any other age probably, unless you are fortunate like some wrote on here about their child just giving it up!! I never had one of mine do that but wish they had.

Good Morning K., Both of ours gave them up on their own. It's been to long to remember at what age that was. The ones we used had a bulb on the not in the mouth end with a squeaky toy in it. They both played with the squeaky end and would get it so full of spit it wouldn't squeak after a while, so they threw them away.

We never had to take them from the Gr kids either, they each at different times got rid of them on their own. Zane the youngest at almost 19 months got rid of his early on and started sucking his thumb... Grrrrrrrrr It is wearing down his two front teeth in the middle, pulling them forward a little bit and I haven't found a way to stop him from sucking his thumb. He is our first thumb sucker.

God Bless you K., you know your child better then any of us and you have some Awesome advice from the other Mama's here. Hope something works for you if you are determined to be rid of it.

K. Nana of 5
PS If any Mama's has hints or ideas on the thumb sucking.. PLZZZZZZZZZZZZZZz help this Nana :) Send me a note ... ;)

Hi K., my name is T. and i hjave a 16 month old who still has his pacifier. I got him off his bottle and on a sippy cup at 12 months with no problem but still let him have the pacifier. most doctors will tell you its not such a big deal and not to take all away at once. my son has his all the time and i see no problem with it so if i were you dont worry. If it makes them feel safer let him have it.

My daughter is still using her binky at night and she'll be three soon. Her binkies are the only things she ever got attached to (except me, ha)--no blankie or stuffed toy. I thought we'd get rid of them sooner, but whenever I ask a dentist, they say don't worry until she's getting her permanent teeth, that some kids just need them to sooth themselves (one of the dentists' kids used a binky until age 5 or something, and the other sucked their thumb forever)....and sometimes during the day when she's really upset or hurt she wants it. I think she's more attached to it because she had terrible reflux as a baby due to food allergies and needed it for soothing, and the allergies still pop up now and again.. You'll just have to decide how important the binkies are to your child....we could take my daughter's stuffed bear out of her crib without a problem, even thought he's been there from day one, but she still wants 5 binkies in her crib at night. During the day, we put them in a drawer so they were out of sight, but she knew where they were if she needed them. My daughter has an underbite anyway...maybe the binky will help--ha.

i think you are being too rigid about the whole pacifier situation. if your son was 36 months old...then yeah...wean him off the pacifier, but since he is only 10 months, it's my opinion to continue to let him use the binkie to soothe himself with. it is how he copes...there was another post about this a couple of weeks ago i can try to track for you on this very issue.

the more attached to the binky they are the harder it is to get them off of it! I had it down to sleep times too at 10 months then I got it just down to bed time. now she is 15 months and is fine without it. I recomend giving him a teething ring in place of a binky. or any type of teething toy. this worked great with my daughter. I wanted her off the binky cause her cousin who is now three still uses them at times and chews off the nipples. plus it is easier to break them of a habit when they are younger cause their attention spans are shorter. Eventually they will forget about it and fixate on something else.(glowworm for instance)

Leave him alone. Both my dtrs gave up their pacifier on their own. Actually the oldest thru her's out the car window and the other lost her's in the toy box. My oldest was around a year old and the youngest was 18 mths. Making it a big deal will enourage his desire to keep it. Lay it down and let him get it. Let him decide when he needs it. Don't give it to him. He will then decide on his own how long he wants it.

You are not being a bad Mom. Pacifiers are a good tool. The pacifier just needs to be left behind like the bottle around age one.
We collected all the pacifiers and put them in a gift box. The Pacifier Fairy took the box to a new baby who needed them and left a small toy for each of my children.

I was just wondering your reason for getting rid of the pacifier. If it is because of what other people think, if he is only using it at home then I don't see the problem. it is his source of comfort and he probably has another year of teething. Two year molars are the worst. I can tell you as the mother of three boys it is easiest to get rid of it very early before they get attached and can ask for it or around 2 when they can understand and reason. My first son gave it up on his own at 7 month. My second son was 18 months and the most diffcult. I cut his pacifiers a little at a time until he didn't want them and more. My third son was 2 and I just told him if he left then for the Pacifier Fairy she would leave him a gift and told him to let me know when he was ready. He thought about it and in a day or two he came to me and told me he was ready. He put them inan envelope and "addressed it in crayon" and put it in the mailbox. The next morning he went to the mail box and found a little toy train. I only had one night of crying at bed time and that was it.

GOod Luck

i have not read all of the responses so i'll keep this short. first i think that having it for going to sleep is not a big deal, so i wouldn't fight it. he uses it to soothe himself and to me that's never a bad thing. it's not like he's walking around with it in his mouth 24/7 and out in public. second, i think the "one year" thing is a little too rigid, maybe...i'd try to wean him off of it if that's what you want to do, but they're still babies at 1. he still needs that comfort because there is so much in this world that he can't begin to understand. there is no evidence that it hurts them at this age. i would relax a bit...there will be MUCH bigger battles to fight. good luck!

I had a friend of mine gather up ALL of the pacifiers, tie them to helium balloons and take them out into a field and let them go with ther son. She had told him the pacifier fairy needed them back for other little boys and girls, and he never fussed again.
Odd but true!

You have to just take them all away and get rid of them. It's the only way. You cannot reason with a baby. Just put them all away (or throw them away if you can't handle the pressure) then when my kids would ask for it - I would shrug my shoulders and say I don't know where it is? They would look for a little bit and then forget. Then they would ask the next day or a couple of hours later. After about three days they never asked again.

Be strong the longer we let them hang on to things they shouldn't the harder on THEM it is,
L. B

Hi K.,

If you're truly ready for your son to give up his pacifier, I've got some ideas...

Our son just turned three two days ago. He's been pacifier-free for about a year-and-a-half. How we did it was this;
every third or fourth night, we'd cut a small slice from the tip of the pacifier. (If it's cut straight across, it won't create a choking hazard.)

What that does is make your child realize, over time, that their pacifier is not comforting them anymore, so they find something else to soothe them, (ie; blanket, teddy bear, etc, but hopefully not their thumb!!)

My son did marvelous with this! He's not even a thumb-sucker. I couldn't be more pleased at how this turned out.

Another way I heard of getting rid of the pacifier uses a bit of imagination. It's kind of fun, only if your child understands. Tell your child there are other kids out "there" that need pacifiers. Explain to your child that he can help by giving them his. Take several strings, tie it to the pacifiers, take the pacifiers and your child outside. Find a tree and tie the pacifiers to some branches and explain to your child that the "pacifier fairy" will pick them up while your child is sleeping. When he wakes up the next morning, he'll find they are gone. (This may not work for everyone, but I heard this on a program that deals with such issues for children.)

Well, hopefully these ideas can help you. Good luck and God bless, ls

I think 1 year is too rigid. I was in the exact same position. I kept telling myself I wanted my daughter off the pacifier by age 1. When that time didn't seem right, I said 18 months. Then right before her 2nd birthday we were going on a trip and I told myself I would leave the pacifier there. Well, she got sick and that didn't happen. So I said 2. Right about that time, there wasn't a whole lot of changes going on with her and the time seemed right. I made the decision that we were taking it away and that would be the end of it. So, here are the tricks: 1) The time has to be right for you & your child, not society. I agree having an older child walking around with a pacifier isn't the best thing to have, but you have limited it to sleeping...that's the 1st step. 2) Pick a time when he isn't teething, sick, or any other big changes (potty training, moving to toddler bed, vacation, etc). 3) When you decide the time is right, don't turn back. He will probably cry & cry & cry some more . The next 4 days may be really hard, but don't give in. By the 5th day he will be much better. My daughter mentioned it a couple times after that, but it was more like, "I don't need it any more." This is how we broke our daughter. I went to her room w/out her there and cut the tip of the pacifier off. When it was time for bed, I gave it to her. She immediately pulled it out and gave it a funny look. I said, "Oh it looks like your nite-nite is broken. We need to throw it away." She was so sad as she went to the trash and threw it away. I told her that it was ok & she was a big girl now. I think it's important that they be the ones to get rid of the pacifier (whatever method you try) so they aren't left in the dark about what's going on & they understand more when things are concrete. I hope this helps. Good luck!

The sooner you get rid of it the easier it is, but at his age, if he's a sucker he'll find something else. He may switch to the stuffed animal, a blanket his thumb. I think a year is a good time to aim for; I've also heard 15 months, but I don't even want to think of the tantrums there. They give up the bottle around a year so why not the false nipple too?

We took our daughter's away when she was 2, and it was hardly a big deal. we'd only given it to her at nap and bed time, and usually she'd spit it out once she'd fallen asleep anyway. Our pediatrician said that before 2 it doesnt affect their tooth development if it's only at sleep times, so that was what we went by.

my son is now 28 months. We went to having the "binky" only during nap and nite time about 6 months ago. He sucked on it so much that the nipple was dangling; an obvious choking hazard. So we had him throw it away and he has asked about it every day since. He does go to bed at nite, but nap time is really bad now. He has also begun to chew on his fingers in place of the pacifier. Why am I telling you this? I had an idea in my head about it being the right time to get rid of it, instead of reading his cues. I'm so tempted to give it back to him so he will sleep better, but this is just something I hear you can't go back to.
Society is going to judge you on something, whether it be the pacifier or what your child is wearing that day. So don't worry about everyone else--do what is right for your child and you!

I know you've already gotten some responses, but thought I'd tell you our experience. I really didn't want our daughter to take a bottle after she was a year old. (I nursed the first six months, but then she rejected the breast so was bottle-fed til she was one.) I also planned to take away her binky at the same time, but thought that was a little cruel. She was only taking a bottle at bedtime, so it only took a weekend to get her used to not having it anymore. She did temporarily get more attached to the binky, but after a couple of weeks, was back to normal. So we took the binky away then, and after a weekend, she was fine again. But she was also not overly attached to hers either. She just used it at naps and bedtime. I was afraid that if we let her keep it longer, she would become more attached to it. She was still so little, she didn't understand it, and I figured if she fought it for a week, or started sucking her thumb, I would just give it back and try again later. So while I agree it's good to be more laid back about it, I don't think you are being unreasonable to want to stick to this kind of schedule if it works for your son. Good luck with whatever you decide!

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